June 11, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Merton Parkas

In 1979 when everyone and his brother was trying to put together a mod band to ride the revival, two brothers did exactly that. The Merton Parkas were founded by brothers Danny and Mick Talbot, and rounded out by Simon Smith and Neil Hurrell. The band has always faced a mixed reaction from mods. Most either loved them, or hated them, there seemed to be little in between.

Like most of the mod groups of the day they started out covering loads of sixties R&B and soul songs, and did some pretty good covers, most notably "Band of Gold" and a surprsingly garagey cover The Monkees' "Steppin' Stone". They also did some really horrid covers like an almost completely soulless "In the Midnight Hour". Thier blend of pub rock, sixties soul and power pop helped establish them as mod favorites, but won them little critical acclaim.

The band did release a number of decent singles, the most prominent of which was "You Need Wheels" which hit #40 on the UK charts giving the band a bona fide hit. The single here "Plastic Smile" lter appeared on their sole album 1979's Face in the Crowd. A year later the band was kaput. Simon Smith went on to play with Carpettes, Mood Six and The Wedding Present. But it would be Mick Talbot that really made something of himself first keyboarding for Dexy's Midnight Runners and then very sucessful number of years as the second half of the heart of The Style Council, and later moving into acid jazz with Galliano.

Merton Parkas -- Plastic Smile

Merton Parkas -- You Need Wheels